— Recommendations are independently chosen by the editors of Reviewed. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
As the scorching summer days approach, it’s more tempting than ever to cool off with a dip in the water. But before you cannonball that pool, you need to take the necessary precautions to make sure everyone involved is safe. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, or worse. According to the CDC, accidental drowning results in approximately 3,960 deaths per year in the United States. It can happen to anyone – actress Mary Mara was discovered drowned just last month.
► “The Big Sharks Are Here”:Researchers warn of great white sharks near Cape Cod
►What’s behind the nationwide lifeguard shortage? It affects a third of US summer pools
“Very few people in the United States are good swimmers,” says Dave Benjamin, executive director of public relations for Great Lakes Surf and Rescue, a nonprofit dedicated to water safety education. He attributes most drownings to overconfidence. “Even if you know how to run, you can’t necessarily run a marathon.”
Knowing your limits, recognize when someone is drowning and being prepared before you swim is key to ensuring you and your loved ones stay safe in the water.
Get deals and shopping tips straight to your phone. Sign up for SMS alerts from the experts at Reviewed.
Make sure the swimsuit is visible
When it comes to safety and danger, the difference often comes down to visibility. Depending on where you are swimming, it can be difficult to distinguish what is below the surface of the water. For this reason, it is important to take the visibility of a swimsuit in consideration. According to the tests conducted by Alive Solutions, bright colors such as neon yellow and green are the most ideal for swimwear. The most visible color you can choose is orange. On the other hand, the white color becomes practically invisible and the darker colors are easy to confuse with leaves or algae. If you’re looking at your or a family member’s closet and think your swimwear options aren’t optimal for safety, we’ve got you covered. We rounded the best places to buy swimsuits online and there are plenty of bright options to enhance your security.
Be proactive with a life jacket
A life jacket is another safety essential to always have with you, whether you are heading to the beach or sailing on a boat. Notes from BoatUS that 90% of drowning victims in boating accidents were not wearing a lifejacket.
“A life jacket is going to keep you on the surface of the water, some even keeping your head above water at all times,” Benjamin remarks. While there is several types of life jackets to choose from, the primary function of each is to keep the wearer afloat. They can also provide some thermal protection to lessen the effects of hypothermia. Type I life jackets are bulky and knock most people’s heads unconscious in the water. They are ideal for rough seas. Type II life jackets are also bulky, but only rotate some unconscious people head up and are destined for calmer waters. A Type III lifejacket is much less bulky but requires the wearer to be conscious to float their head. It is important to choose a lifejacket that can support the weight of the wearer to ensure maximum safety.
Also, it should be noted that many states require people of a certain age to have or wear a life jacket when traveling by boat. Know your specific state’s life jacket terms and know your own swimming limits.
The Bass Pro Shops Universal Life Jacket is a Type III vest and features multiple buckles for a more secure feel and stands out for its comfort. It offers one size to fit most chest sizes from 30-52″. Walmart’s X20 Type II life jacket fits the same size range and comes in a striking orange color that can be easily spotted. Walmart also offers a Type II life vest in child sizes with an adjustable tether for a tighter fit. All of these vests are US Coast Guard approved.
For those who have a disability that impairs their movement, they can still enjoy the water with brands like Theraaquatics and Life Jacket-Adapted Inc.
When all else fails, have a disposable device handy
The saying goes that “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. While it’s best to plan ahead when it comes to water safety, there are times when you need to act fast and can’t get someone into a life jacket. For times like these, your best bet is to toss them a Type IV flotation device rescue ring. Type IV is part of the same specification as the aforementioned swim vests, with Type IV being a buoyant buoyant item that users can cling to to stay above water.
Although expensive, it’s hard to put a price tag on safety and if there’s one thing the Type IV Ring Buoy is all about, it’s that it’s secure. Designed to be cast, large enough to fit most people indoors, and soft enough to hold for long periods of time, this Coast Guard-approved buoy will help you out in a pinch. You can combine it with a strong throwing line so someone can grab onto it and pull it safely ashore. North Water’s casting line is available in bright red for improved underwater visibility.
To help a swimmer in distress in the pool, you can use a pool hook. Like a throwing line, a pool hook is a device that struggling swimmers can grab onto and that will allow someone out of the water to pull them to safety. Of course, all of these plans only work if another person is present, which is why you should never swim alone. Additionally, you should never leave a child unattended around the pool.
Have fun while you float
While water safety is serious business, it doesn’t have to be catastrophic. You can float in a pool while having fun and showing off some style. The Jurmikey swim vest is a hit with young children thanks to its bright and colorful designs. It’s big enough to be comfortable for some kids even as they grow. Older kids can have fun with a ferocious dragon from GoFloats. Don’t tell the fire-breathing lizard that it’s surrounded by water, that would spoil all the fun.
Kids aren’t the only ones having fun in the water, as many brands offer larger inflatable pools. Customers love Find2Will’s inflatables for their designs and durability.
Restrict access to the pool to avoid accidents
One of the best ways to prevent pool accidents is to restrict access to the pool in the first place. You might consider installing a fence around your pool, which makes it difficult to access. This can deter humans and animals. The WaterWarden security fence comes pre-assembled and setting it up is as simple as putting the included posts into pre-drilled holes. Going further, you need to make sure your pool drain has a secure cover, as this prevents hair from being sucked into the drain. Finally, consider installing a battery-operated pool alarm, which will alert you when someone enters the pool unexpectedly. The Poolguard alarm works for pools 800 square feet or less and sounds a loud horn when motion is detected.
There’s a lot more where that came from. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get all our reviews, expert advice, offers and more
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.